"The world is drowning in a sea of data. Facebook users alone are uploading more than a thousand photos a second. We're now seeing an exponential explosion of information. So how much information are we really storing?"
There are really two parts to this segment: a backgrounder and an interview. In the first part, the presenter makes the following statements:
- FB users 1000 pix/sec
- Digital data stored in the world last year increased by 60%
- 1 ZB (zettabyte) == 250 billion full movies [Note: 1 ZB == 1000 exabytes]
- By 2020 world storage will need 35 ZB
- Cameras, movies, etc. are driving storage requirements
- YouTube gets uploaded with 24 hrs of vid/min
- GHG for sending an email attachment of 4.7 MB == 17.5 electric-kettle boils
- DCs have reached parity with airlines in GHG emissions
- Google placed its DCs near energy sources, anticipating future gov't tax for energy transport
- Airlines GHG emissions ~ 500 million metric tons/yr
- According to PBS Roughscience, a standard kitchen kettle takes about 2000 Watts of electrical power. Thus, 17.5 × 2 kW = 35 kW. But that's power (P), not energy (E = P×T) over time period T. If it takes about 10 mins to boil a kettle then, 2 kW / 6 = 0.33 kWh per boil.
- If a typical British kitchen kettle is assumed to hold 1.5 liters, that's about 6.34 US coffee cups, according to Google convert. According to General Electric, brewing 3 pots of coffee (6 cups) requires 1 kWh of energy. So, 1 brew (or 1 kettle boil) takes about 0.33 kWh, which seems consistent.
- How much energy does it take to store an email? The claimed 35 kW per email in the BBC piece must combine: client processing + network routing + server processing (e.g., anti-spam) + storage.
- Energy consumed by or GHGs due to spam. According to Mcafee, in 2008, spam email alone was responsible for consuming as much as 33 billion kWh—enough to power 2.4 million homes with electricity. Mcafee might be a little bit biased. :)
- And don't forget spiders